First Draft on the First Draft

From Holden:

Some have referred to stop-loss orders and the activation of the Individual Ready Reserve as the “backdoor draft”. But whether you are considering the former or the latter, in both instances the affected individuals volunteered for military service at some point in their lives.

That’s not the case with civilians workers at Alabama’s Redstone Arsenal, where they maintain helicopters. The Army has reclassified 111 of these civilians so that they can be sent to Iraq:

When you see helicopters in action in Iraq or Afghanistan, you can be sure, those helicopters are supported by civilians from Redstone Arsenal. Civilians who are on the ground, over there. The thing to remember, it’s a normal situation. “Sure, if the mission requires it, any federal employee, for that matter, can be assigned to go and support any organization’s mission,” says Tim Grey, the Director of the Human Resource Department at Redstone’s U.S. Army Aviation and Missile Command.

Most of the support work for the army aviation and missile systems managed at Redstone, is done on the base, but more than 150 civilian volunteers have been deployed during the past year. And now, AMCOM is designating 111-jobs as emergency essential, which means the holders of those jobs, might face deployment in the next two years. It’s a concern to Don Eierman of the American Federation of Government Employees, Local 1858. “Southwest Asia for instance, is not a traditional war zone, there is no front line where the enemy is located. There have been attacks, sporadic attacks throughout the area. There’s not really a safe zone, so the jeopardy to civilian lives is much higher throughout this type of campaign,” says Eierman. The Union Local President, says his members support the soldiers, but they do have concerns about deployment. Tim Grey recognizes the danger in Iraq and Afghanistan, but says great care is taken to keep civilian workers safe.